Thursday 16 July 2015

Reviewing the Evidence - Bloody Valentine

Title: Bloody Valentine (US Link)
Author: James Patterson
Genre: crime
Series: Quick Reads

A few starting notes:

Having previously read James Patterson books, and found his books entertaining if sometimes a little devoid of depth, and being a sucker for the excellent and always commendable Quick Reads series, I decided to pick this up in my last library haul.


It's Valentine's day. But something is wrong in the Barnes apartments - the block of flats shared by entrepreneur Jack Barnes and his extended family. An awful and gory crime has been committed...could it have been by one of their own?

Best bits:

The locked-room style aspects of the mystery at the heart of this book is always interesting - and for the most part Patterson does justice to the concept.

The other thing that really stands out about this book is the sense of secrets, hidden deep within a well-off family, bubbling beneath the surface until they spill forward. The interplay of the tension is well-used, and the view of rich families as somehow hiding sin and betrayal, though a well-trodden path, is also used to good effect.

Patterson's main appeal is his sheer readability - and there is no difference here. The chapters are short and draw you onwards through the tale, and the whole book is also short - this being the Quick Reads series - so it is handy for those in-between moments, and for the busy reader.

Not so great bits:

The ending feels a little rushed, as if we're sprinting at the finish, and I think it would've benefited from a little more detail at the end. The prose is sometimes clumsy and a little bewildering, though largely it remains clear and readable.

The characters too could have done with a little more development - the standout perhaps being Leila and Ted, who both stand out more than Zee, Jack, or any of the detectives.


This is a quick and entertaining mystery. Yes, it's a little rough around the edges in more than a few places, but it's still pretty readable, and you'll want to read to the end, if only to reach the final answer to the whodunit? question.

Quick Note: I forgot to mention before but there is a scene or two in this book that is very gory - might not be to everyone's taste.

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